top of page

March Madness & Your Job Search:Are you as adaptable as the players?

For all the 40–50-year-old financial services professionals, what does March Madness and your job search plan have to do with one another? A lot. The teams that make it to the end have players and coaches astute at properly preparing and adapting to different circumstances. Their opponents are so skilled in their plays that a team must face any challenge. Are you ready to adapt to the job search challenges that are thrown at you?


The greatest basketball coaches teach a method of adaptability and preparation. The ultimate goal is to be more important than a rigid plan. The basketball court is the metaphor of choice since it represents a field where adaptability and quick decision-making are key. Can you be like a top-seeded team in your job search? Can you prove to me that the last-second buzzer-beater isn’t the most thrilling moment of the tournament (email me if you disagree)?

Here are 3 tips to improve your adaptability:


#1 Now may not be the time to change jobs!

Sometimes for the 40-50-year-old professionals the smartest move is no move at all. You can be upset and uncomfortable with your position, but can you make a move internally to satisfy that itch to leave? Are you clear-headed to understand that if you leave, you will need to reestablish your reputation, prove your value, and find a way to satisfy a new team?


Here is a helpful hint on understanding your current team dynamics. Have you ever taken the DISC assessment, the more modern-day version of some of the Myers Brigg’s tests we took many years ago? If you know your style and that of your team, the DISC system will allow you to pivot your interactions with them based on a communication style they prefer, not one that you have been failing with. Your team may not be difficult; they just work better with certain communication forms (direct vs. indirect, storytelling vs. fact, etc.). Even though you are in your 40-50’s, you can still innovate!


Documenting your “should I stay, or should I go now” decision means documenting each variable of your thought process and assigning a score depending on each's value to you (10 is most important, 1 is least). If work-life balance is key, assign it a 10. If salary is paramount, the same. If living in metro-NYC is not essential, assign it a 3. If you want my spreadsheet, email me at


Once you take a look at all your variables and related scores, patterns may start to emerge. Patterns might show consistency or inconsistency. Having a work-life balance and being a top earner will more than likely be in conflict as will moving out of metro-NYC. You will then have to make the hard decisions, but at least you have a framework.


#2. Have an A+ Resume & LinkedIn profile ready at any time

Do you know how many senior professionals I meet that have not updated their resume in 5+ years since they have been at their role for 10+? What if a recruiter calls and discusses a really hot job? Do you think the job will wait for you? If you buy auto or homeowners’ insurance, then why not career insurance? Of course, it takes time and energy, sometimes away from your family and friends. However, what is more important to your family than a comfortable income?


My suggestion is to have a resume on hand that is 80-85% complete. Upon getting that recruiter call, contract with a resume writer to finish the remaining 15-20% in a few days. I can’t tell you how many “shore ups” I have helped clients with. You save money and time. Make sure though, that your resume has the appropriate content and format so someone can understand your value-add within 10 seconds. Also, ensure that each bullet is truly unique to you and applies to no other professional.


#3 Switch communication platforms to get better responses

Most of us send emails for requests for networking calls, thank you notes post interviews, and further follow-up communication. However, switch it up people since Google’s email spam filter is getting tighter each day (did you read about Google’s new policies)? What else can you do? You can try having a trusted friend send the email. “Bob, I know Lisa was trying to get in touch with you about an important topic, but she was not succeeding”. Try LinkedIn since although there is a spam filter, clearly it does not work well given all the young women sending me garbage messages telling me I am special, and they want to get to know me.


Being adaptable like a top-seeded team means you may want to reconsider changing jobs and communicate better with your team. It also means having your resume and LinkedIn profile ready as an insurance policy and switching up your communication platforms. Now go watch the last-second buzzer-beater that won the game.


👍 Like this article to support us, and make sure to hit the subscribe button and ring the bell to stay updated with more career insights and advice!

Mike Mittleman is a career coach whose business focuses on investment banking finance professionals based in the NY/CT/NJ tri-state area, helping navigate their career paths with confidence and success. For more tips and personalized coaching, visit



bottom of page